The NIHR Dissemination Centre produces a range of reports setting out the latest research evidence, from the NIHR and more widely, in a clear and accessible way. This weeks exploration is focusing on 2 kinds of report produced by the centre, Highlights and Themed reviews.

1. Highlights: are reviews of research in key areas which are aimed at practitioners, decision-makers and patients. There are currently three highlights on the dissemination centres’ website:

Supporting Carers of People with Dementia: Caring for people with dementia become increasingly demanding as the disease progresses. This highlight looks at research into how carers can be supported.

Cognitive Therapies for Depression: While depression is often treated with anti-depressant medication, there is good evidence that cognitive therapies are also effective.

Managing Obesity in men: Although men are more likely to be overweight or obese than women, they are less likely to join weight-loss programmes and have a lower chance of attaining a healthy body weight than obese women.

unspecifiedTo give you an indication of the content of the highlights the highlight on cognitive therapies for depression is divided into the following four sections:

1, Evidence at a glance

2, Is computerised CBT effective for mild to moderate depression?

3. What treatments help for depression that hasn’t responded to medication?

4. Which treatments might help to avoid depression relapse?


Within some sections, such as evidence at a glance, the evidence is broken down further. In this instance it is presented under the headings of:

  • What does this new evidence tell us about when and for whom, cognitive therapies may be effective?
  • Does the research tell us anything about cost-effectiveness?
  • What do patients think about these types of cognitive therapy?
  • Key questions for GPs and other healthcare professionals.
  • Key questions for patients

There are also links to relevant blogs. As an example, one of the blogs outlines work undertaken with the James Lind Alliance,  the focus of an earlier Wed. exploration, to identify the top 10 research questions relevant to depression. Another blog provides an insight into one person’s journey through a range of different interventions.

2. Themed Reviews are in-depth reviews looking at current evidence, research in progress and the implications for practice. Unlike the highlights themed reviews can be read online or downloaded as a PDF. Currently there are two themed reviews:

Care at the Scene: which brings together nearly 40 NIHR studies into pre-hospital care and looks at how we can promote more research within ambulance services. This review was published within the last few weeks.

Better Endings: draws together published and ongoing NIHR research into end of life and palliative care services, helping decision makers provide the right care, in the right place, at the right time.


The Better Endings review covers the following: evidence at a glance; what does it mean for me; why do end of life services matter; right care; right place; right time; further research.

Alongside the PDF there are short interviews with Professor Bee Wee, National Clinical Director for End of Life Care and Dr Margaret McCartney, a general practitioner.

The information in the highlights and themed reviews is presented in a very accessible format and the use of a range of different media increases its accessibility. If you are an early career researcher developing research in one of these fields they will provide you with an excellent overview of the current state of evidence as a start point for your work.

Keeping up to date with evidence based interventions is a challenge for anyone working within a clinical setting. Subscribing to the Centres mailing list, either for yourself or your team, or following them on twitter via @NIHR_DC will ensure that you are notified when new highlights and themed reviews are published.